It was an exciting 48 hours for Twitter. Following being egged on by alt-right poster boy and Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones declared that she’s had it with Twitter. She was harassed by hundreds of Yiannopoulos’ faithful followers, with foul tweets coming from all directions.
Soon after the actress expressed her disgust at the hate tweets directed at her, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey followed the actress and requested her to send him a DM to detail the harassment she received. Within the same day, Twitter permanently suspended Milo Yiannopoulos’ account, and also resolved to find any new accounts the alt-right journalist will create and suspend all of that, as well.
Within the same day of suspending Yiannopoulos’ account and resolving Ms. Jones’ problem, Twitter also opened the “Account Verified” feature to regular folk all across Twitter. If the timestamps of the reports on The Verge are the basis of the order of events at Twitter, rolling out the Account Verified feature happened first, with the report coming in at 1:44 p.m., then Twitter permanently banned Milo Yiannopoulos after, with the report published at 10:48 p.m.
The Verge notes that the purpose of rolling out the “Account Verified” feature seems rather unclear. There are speculations that the feature will ensure that troll accounts will be weeded out. While Twitter has expressed that it is beefing up its anti-harassment measures, it is undeniable that Milo Yiannopoulos was still a troll, in fact, a rather grave force of harassment, and his was a verified account.
According to the “Account Verified” feature’s official page, the purpose of the feature is more to highlight accounts that produce great content, and whose owners fully intend to go public and be a great resource of information—something that Twitter wants more of, given that the social networking site has 320 million active users, and only 187,000 of these are verified.
Twitter seems keen on increasing safety measures and dialing down the abuse that happens on their social media platform. With these new developments, they seem to be on the right track to doing so.